Millennials Spark a New Employee Retention Problem

employee retention; celebrating dad; working dad and happy father's day

What happens to a career after a baby? Will it mean a valuable future leader will downshift or opt out?

According to recent studies, the likelihood is yes!he probably will.

You read that right!he.

Working Fathers: Today's At-Risk Employees

Working fathers, it turns out, are employers' newest employee retention problem. Though job and parenting conflicts have long been considered a woman's issue, young dads on both sides of the Atlantic are expressing similar frustrations. The result is a generation of men talking with their feet.

"More than half of millennial men want to change their job for something with less responsibility and less pay," read a Huffington Post article about the recently released Modern Family Index in the U.K., a sister study to a similar study of parents in the U.S. About a third of the U.K. dads also admitted to feeling burned out. It's "a trade-off dads are prepared to make to get rid of the stress they face in balancing work and family life," read the Huffington Post article.

Employee Retention: A Global Shift

The findings mirror those of the U.S. study showing some equally stressed dads on this side of the pond:

  • 1 in 3 new U.S. dads felt parenthood limited their opportunities for advancement
  • 31% considered quitting because of judgement from colleagues
  • 69% said fatherhood will likely mean a job change

A Global Shift in Fatherhood; a Critical Challenge to Employee Retention

The U.K study, a joint venture between Bright Horizons and Working Families, illustrates a growing threat of a so-called fatherhood penalty. Like the already familiar motherhood penalty, the phenomenon forces parents into careers for which they're overqualified and underpaid solely for the benefit of a better fit between work and family. And with fathers in both countries considering a job change, it marks a challenge for employee retention, and a cautionary tale for employers competing for talent in the current market.

"To prevent a 'fatherhood penalty' emerging in the UK - and to help tackle the motherhood penalty," Working Families Chief Executive Sarah Jackson told the BBC, "employers need to ensure that work is designed in a way that helps women and men find a good work-life fit."

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Written by: Lisa Oppenheimer

August 1, 2021

About the Author

Lisa Oppenheimer at Bright Horizons

As Director, Brand Storytelling at Bright Horizons, Lisa writes “from the trenches” about the real life challenges of people in today’s workplaces: from the tensions of being a working mother, to working with millennials in the digital age, and everything in between. With a career ranging from freelance to full-time, Lisa brings a diverse employment background to her perspective.